Welcome Catherine Gayle!

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday


                            Catherine Gayle
Today we have Historical Romance Author, Catherine Gayle, joining us. 

Let's get to know Catherine! 

 What made you decide to write?  What did you do before becoming a writer?

A Summons from The Castle
Let’s see, I was a pizza cook, movie theater manager, retail sales associate, receptionist at a (TINY) non-profit, teller and new accounts rep at a bank, office peon at an investment firm…and then I ended up as a full-time college student, part-time tutor. Writing is something that I always had an interest in, but never really did seriously until I went back to college and was an English major. One of my profs for a poetry course asked me to try my hand at writing some poems for extra credit. I did, and he thought I had promise, so he encouraged me to take his creative writing course the next semester. In that class, I focused mainly on poetry (a mistake, as, in his words, I have a “maximalist” style which does not lend itself well to poetry), but wrote one longish short story. Based on that, he strongly “encouraged” me to try my hand at long fiction. I didn’t think I could write a book, so I researched how to write a novel before I ever decided to do it. And when I did decide to try it, the only ideas coming to mind that seemed strong enough to try were Regency-set historical romances. Two months later, the first draft of my first novel was complete, and I’d joined a critique group—where I discovered that, while I showed a lot of promise, I had a lot left to learn. I kept writing while going to school full-time, finishing three more manuscripts, getting an agent, losing an agent, etc. before seeing what might happen if I self published. Now, I am a full-time writer.

Do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write? 

The only thing “routine” about my writing is that there must be coffee involved. I used to write primarily at home, while I was going to school. I’d moved back in to live with my dad while I worked toward my degree, but he was a long-haul truck driver which meant he was GONE most of the time. That made it really easy for me to focus. He has since been forced into an early retirement, and so now he is HOME all the time. Focus has gone out the window.  So now, I leave the house to write. I’ll go to coffee shops, the library, Panera—anywhere I can sit down for long stretches with a cup of coffee and plug in my laptop. Lately, I tend to try for 30 minute stretches of writing, followed by a five to ten minute break and then another 30 minute bout of writing. I feel like I’m better at ignoring the internet/social media and whatnot if I know I can check in again in half an hour, and then I get more words on the page.

 What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? How do combat that? Even though I’m a full-time writer, I haven’t let myself get burned out. I have learned my best writing times (afternoons), and don’t try to force myself to do writing related tasks in other times. In order to be sure I’m still working in those other times, though, I devote my mornings to editing tasks, maintaining my social media presence, writing blog posts, responding to emails—as much of the business side of things as I can. Writing can be addictive, though, so I have to be sure I give myself time off. I do write at least some every day, but I’ll go to a movie on the weekend, or have my nephew come to spend the night, or recently I’ve bought a mini-plan to see the Dallas Stars during several home games. Time away from the computer is essential. Lately, I haven’t come close to worrying about running out of stories, because I have so many wanting to be told that I haven’t had time to write, it’s ridiculous. When I get a story idea (a Shiny New Project, or SNP), I’ll write enough of it down that I can refocus on my current WIP and move on. Sometimes, these ideas don’t give up easily. I might have to do more than jot some notes down—like do some character sketches, a plot outline, or even write the first few chapters. Usually though, I spend at most a few days to a week away from my primary project lining out a new one before getting back to work. (Don’t ask me how many SNPs I’ve got sitting and waiting to be written. It’s liable to get me committed.)

 What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing? 

Scenes involving either heavy emotion or action. I tend to write really quickly when I’ve got a lighthearted or humorous scene in the works, but action bogs me down like nothing else. And while I love reading heavily emotional scenes, writing them can really drain me. I have to do them a little bit at a time, or else I get so caught up in the emotion that I can’t function as a human being for a while.

 Tell us a bit about your work in progress. 

I’m working on Pariah, which is the second book in my Old Maids’ Club trilogy. The trilogy revolves around a set of three cousins who vowed as girls to grow old together as spinsters, just like their favorite aunt. Pariah has been a bit of a departure from the norm for me, as most of my stories have been highly humorous even when dealing with the occasional heavy subject. In Pariah, however, I’m tackling PTSD and dementia and more secrets than I can count (almost), and so I’m struggling to maintain my trademark humor without making a mockery of the weighty issues these characters are facing on a daily basis. It’s been a really good challenge for me, and I feel like I’ve grown so much as a writer for even attempting it.

What is next for you?
I’m planning to start soon on one of those SNPs that came up over a year ago and I’ve got a few chapters written on. It’s a project that is completely separate from any of my other books or series, and I’m hoping to use it to see what an agent and traditional publishing might have available for me. And once it is complete, I’ll get back to work writing the final book in my Old Maids’ trilogy.

 How can we find out more about you? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter?  

You can find me at my website, the Lady Scribes blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Thank you for hanging out with us today! 

So, what else do you want to know about Catherine?  

Jody Hedlund

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

Please Welcome

Jody was actually my very first follower on this blog and I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to feature her. 

First, let  me tell you about her new book The Doctor's Lady. You can check out the beautiful book trailer below.

I will openly admit I am not an avid historical fiction reader. I finished The Doctor's Lady in one day, staying up until the wee hours of the morning, because I had to know what happened. It is a quick moving, fascinating read about the life of a woman travel across the country in the 1830's. The characters suck you in. By the time I turned the last page, I was sad to end my journey with them.
You can enter to win a free, signed copy of the book by leaving a comment this week. 
The winner will be chosen on Monday, October 3rd.
*U.S. mailing address only, please*

Let's get to know Jody!

  What was the inspiration behind The Doctor’s Lady?

This book is inspired by the true life story of Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman to brave the dangers of overland trail and travel west. In 1836, she married Dr. Whitman, and then the next day left her childhood home and would never return for the purpose of starting a mission among the Nez Perce natives.
It was my hope in this story to bring Narcissa Whitman to life. This heroic woman has often been ignored and at times even disparaged. In reality, she exuded incredible courage to attempt a trip many proclaimed foolishly dangerous. It was called an “unheard-of-journey for females.” Because of her willingness to brave the unknown, she led the way for the many women who would follow in her footsteps in what would later become known as the Oregon Trail.

What message do you hope readers take away?

I hope readers are inspired to try new things and brave dangerous prospects in the pursuit of their dreams. When we go after the things that matter, we’ll have to take risks and we’ll experience setbacks and obstacles. But if we persevere, we can reach our destination and do great things along the way.

What do you like most about writing and being a published author?

As a writer, I love telling stories. I especially like the feeling that comes as I near the end of the book when everything looks hopeless, the characters are in big trouble, and somehow I’m able to wrap up the book in a satisfying way. I call it the first-draft love affair! I fall absolutely and madly in love with the story and think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.

As a published author, I love hearing from readers. I’m always thrilled to get emails or hand-written notes from readers telling me how much my story touched them.

What do you like least?
I struggle the most during the editing phase of each of my books. The love affair that started during the first draft comes to an end. I fall out of love with my books. By the last edit—called the Galley Review—I finally reach a point where I loathe the book, think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written, and wish I could just throw it away. During the Galley stage, I’m fraught with insecurity and fear. My agent did a great job of talking me off the cliff during my fears with The Doctor’s Lady. She encouraged and inspired me to keep going no matter what happens. 

  What’s coming next?
 In 2012, my next historical romance releases. I’m really excited about this story because it’s set in my home state of Michigan. It takes place during the 1880’s at a time in history when the lumber era was at its height. Although the story isn’t inspired by a true person the way my first two books have been, I do include several real people, particularly a real villain by the name of James Carr who was notorious in central Michigan for his violence and for introducing white slavery into the state.

 The heroine of the story is a young woman, Lily Young, who is looking for her sister who’s caught up into the degradation of lumber camp life. While Lily searches for her missing sister, she fights against the evil that runs rampant around her, and she fights not to lose her heart to the lumber baron who turns a blind eye to the lawlessness of the lumber business.

   Where can readers find you?

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com

 Thank you so much for stopping by, Jody!
Psst, you should also check out her first book 

So, do you like to read historical fiction?
Leave a comment or question for Jody to be entered  for a chance to win a free, signed copy of 
The Doctor's Lady!

My apologies to those who have tried to leave a comment and were unable to. Blogger must be having a hiccup because it is set for anyone to comment. 
Please email me at writer in waiting at gmail dot com and I will be happy to enter you in the drawing.